"'The Ottoman Empire was an ecosystem.' Thus, historian Mikhail concludes his rich, part socioeconomic, part environmental history of early modern Ottoman Egypt. Filling a hole in the historiography with a breathtaking array of cases, themes, and illustrations, Mikhail offers an ideal pedagogical tool for all levels of university courses. He digs into his analytical tool box and reveals an Egypt deeply integrated into the larger world, both economically and ecologically. From accounts of droughts and bubonic plagues to the aftereffects of volcanic eruptions in Iceland, Mikhail's contribution opens a new prism through which to study human interactions with nature. Perhaps the most valuable contribution is the author's charting of the vibrant synthesis of life patterns between peasants, local landowners, and imperial governors and the ebbs and flows of the natural life upon which the Ottoman Empire's wealthiest province depended. Add to the mix the equally complex (sometimes deadly) relationship Egyptians necessarily had with beasts of burden, rats, and fleas, all sharing the fate of the temperamental seasonal flooding of the Nile, and this book makes for an outstanding addition to any library. Essential."– "Choice"